Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am delighted to be back in Beijing for this 20th EU-China Summit. I first visited China in 1996 as Prime Minister of Luxembourg and it is always a pleasure to come back and to see China grow and transform into a truly global country.
I have always been a strong believer in the potential of the EU-China partnership. And in today's world that partnership is more important than ever before.
Our cooperation simply makes sense. Together we account for around a third of the global economy. Europe is China's largest trading partner and China is Europe's second largest trading partner. The trade in goods between us is worth over EUR 1.5 billion every single day.
Last year alone, Europe exported EUR 198 billion worth of goods – and EUR 38 billion in services – to China. This creates jobs and growth both for both sides and shows the potential of our trading partnership.
But we also know that we can do so much more. European Foreign Direct Investment into China have hit a low in 2017, at around EUR 6 billion. This compares to over EUR 30 billion invested by China into Europe last year.
This gap reflects a concern amongst our investors on the regulatory and administrative burden that foreign companies sometimes have to face in China.
Europe wants to do more and to invest more in China on the basis of a level playing field and of agreed rules. But an open investment environment works best when it is two-way.
In that spirit, I welcome the first exchange of offers that we have made on the Comprehensive Agreement on Investment. This is an important step but only the first one; what we need is an Agreement that fulfils our common ambition and gives investors on both sides predictable and long-term access to our respective markets.
Evidemment, nous pensons en Europe que la China doit s'ouvrir davantage. Et l'exemple que le Premier ministre vient de donner en faisant référence à un investissement important d'une société allemande non moins importante, sans restriction aucune, prouve à l'évidence que si la Chine veut s'ouvrir, elle peut s'ouvrir et elle sait comment s'ouvrir. C'est dans ce sens que je salue pleinement le fait que les deux parties – la Chine et nous-mêmes – se sont mis d'accord pour mettre en place un groupe de travail sur la réforme de l'organisation mondiale du commerce.
Il ne s'agit pas seulement de mettre en place un groupe, il s'agit de délivrer – actions are more important than words.